Today I got started on a simple bench for my shop. I knew I wanted an island bench, and because space is a premium I thought I would keep it small, I figure I can always add on to it later if I need to. Plus, when I get a new space I can put casters on this and use it as a rolling work bench.
I began construction by measuring the top of my small table saw. This would allow me to use the table as an outfeed as well if needed. (This would be my downfall as I explain later). I cut two 8-foot-long 2×4s down to the right height (my table saw had a height of 35 inches, so I cut to 34 1/2 so I would be able to put the top piece down and still have the right height.) I then cut pieces down to 44 1/2 for the long ends of the table support and 23 for the short ends; this left me enough room to have an overhang so I could clamp pieces to the table top if needed. I mitered the ends of the table support to 45 degrees to have a nice square mitered box to rest my table top on. After gluing and screwing the miters together for supreme support, I attached the legs to be flush with the top of the box.
I placed my tabletop and screwed it into the box and the legs. For the table top underlay I used a 2×4 foot sheet of 1/2 inch pine. On top of that I decided I would place a cheap piece of floor sheathing on top for an extra layer of protection and make it look a little nicer with a linseed oil finish. This would be my downfall. After Gluing the sheathing down and screwing it in with screws every 6 inches starting from the corner placed on the middle line of the table support I rubbed in some linseed oil and butted the whole table up against my table saw to double check the height.
As a side-bar, floor sheathing is a 1/8 inch thick sheet of plywood in the case of the piece I bought for this table top. I did not account for this when I measured the height of my legs. As such, I had a work bench that is now 1/8 inch too tall for my outfeed.
Not a big deal because I can always take the 1/8 inch off the bottom of the legs without too much trouble, however, I wish I had looked into this in retrospect and thought this through a little better. So, moral of this story, always make sure you planned for the whole project.
Not just most of it.
Like I do.
Far too often.
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-- JC Boysha, Amateur woodworker, all around amazing guy.